Roman Fever and Other Stories

Literary Realism: Edith Wharton’s “Roman Fever” College

In the short story, “Roman Fever,” Edith Wharton portrays a daily life situation between two wealthy middle-aged women talking in Rome. The morals and struggle of upper-class women to succeed and stand out at that time period are revealed in the story. This story fits with the literary movement of Realism due to the realistic portrayal of common everyday life for women in society. It demonstrates hypocritical friendship, the rivalry between high-class women, betrayal among “friends”, and the superficial ideas of middle-aged women.

Realism’s primary concern is championing the “small” lives of unexceptional human beings and representing the necessity for socioeconomic reforms outside the text in the “real” world (Hirsch 676). “Roman Fever,” an example of realism, reflects the real lives of high-class women in the eighteen hundreds. It starts with two American ladies who had known each other for a very long time, sitting at a restaurant table. Grace Ansley and Alida Slade were both widows. They had married Horace Ansley and Delphin Slade respectively. From the beginning of the story, it is shown that their friendship is not very sincere. Mrs. Slade thought Mrs. Ansley was old-fashioned (Wharton 874). Mrs. Ansley, on the other...

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